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How to knit left-handed

NYC-based Allison Galland served as SheKnows.com's fabulously creative Crafts and Scrapbooking blogger.

Left-handed knitting

If you're left-handed and knitting books only offer instructions for knitting right-handed, what can you do? Here are some tips just for left-handed knitters!

Left-handed knitting

SheKnows reader Beth writes:

Any tips on where to learn to knit, especially if you're left-handed and books don't really help?

Knitting needles and yarn

I'm glad you asked that, Beth! Lefties needn't shy away from knitting. There are a couple of things I can recommend for left-handed knitters:

  1. The best thing to do is to try to find a lefty knitter to help you. The next best thing is to ask at a yarn shop. The staff is usually very helpful and friendly, and if they cannot help, they will surely be able to point you to someone who can! Try asking when and where you buy some "starter" yarn and needles.
  2. The Knitting Site's "Left Handed Knitting" page has some video tutorials.
  3. As the Knitting Site points out, knitting is a skill that uses both hands. You may not actually want to knit left-handed. There are two styles of knitting: American and Continental. In American style, you hold the yarn in your right hand, and in Continental, you hold it in your left. I am a Continental knitter, even though I'm a righty! It is possible that you will want to knit in the righty Continental style.
  4. Finally, if books don't help you much, this might not be the best, but I think the illustrations at this site are very good: lefty knit stitch and lefty purl stitch. (Incidentally, these links depict lefty American style knitting!)

Some words of encouragement

In an excellent article on left-handed knitting, advocating for learning the "righty" continental style, Fuzzy Galore says this:

Misguided attempts to reverse knitting entirely and have the poor left-handed victim try to knit from right to left (ie the stitches, the knitting going from left to right needle) in mirror image of everyone else won't help the natural coordination problems every beginner experiences. Worse, it will leave them with a bad case of knitting illiteracy, unable to benefit from the existing literature without going through a torturous translation process that no beginner can handle. ... In conclusion, the main accommodation that could be tried with left-handed people is to teach them continental knitting first. But nothing else is necessary, just patience on both parts, and understanding that no handedness variation is a handicap in knitting.


More about knitting

How to knit: For absolute beginners

Each One Teach Two: Teach someone to knit or crochet

Teach your kids to knit

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